HAYWARD -- Planning Commissioner Elisa Marquez was appointed Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the City Council.
Eighteen people applied for the seat vacated when Councilwoman Barbara Halliday was elected mayor in June.
The council voted 4 to 2 to appoint Marquez, who was sworn in at the end of Tuesday's meeting, with Councilmen Greg Jones and Marvin Peixoto voting no. Marquez was sworn in immediately after the vote.
Eighteen people applied for the post, and five finalists were interviewed by the council Tuesday: Marquez and fellow city Planning Commissioners Rodney Loche and Vishal Trivedi; former Councilman Mark Salinas; and businessman and civic leader Brian Schott.
Salinas did not run for re-election, instead deciding to pursue the mayor spot, but came in second to Halliday in the mayoral election. Councilman Francisco Zermeno was third in that race.
Marquez grew up in Hayward and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Cal State East Bay. She told the council she was exposed to her family's businesses from an early age and recalled her grandparents' tortilla factory and restaurant at C and Atherton streets downtown, where homes now stand. Her family still has a restaurant downtown.
"Raised with the family businesses, I chose to stay away from that and steered toward social service," she said before the vote.
Marquez, a Santa Clara County Superior Court investigator, has been on the Planning Commission since 2008. The 36-year-old previously served on the city's Human Services Commission.
As a councilwoman, she will focus on the council's priorities of keeping Hayward safe, clean and green and closely monitor the budget, Marquez said Wednesday.
"It's also important to start taking a look at South Hayward and the opportunities in this area," she said.
Of the five finalists, only Loche ran for City Council in the June election, where he came in fifth in the race for two council seats. Sara Lamnin was the top vote-getter in the council election, and incumbent Marvin Peixoto was second.
Ryan "Rocky" Fernandez, who was third in the council race, applied for the vacancy, but was not among the finalists, receiving endorsements from only Lamnin and Zermeno. Each council member was allowed to select five finalists from the 18 who applied.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.